Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gasta Strategy on Brands

To get the greatest value out of your social networking strategy, you need to communicate consistently across every platform used. An online communities expert explains how.

Online social environments have multiplied at an exponential rate over the past few years. In fact, many of us have at least two or three identities online in various social networks (I have at least 15). At the recent iMedia Breakthrough Summit, 32 percent of the audience admitted to having . As a result of the social networking gold rush, I am often asked how to best leverage the ever-expanding social web to market to consumers in an effective manner. My goal in this article is to help marketers formulate strategies for engaging consumers in a meaningful dialogue across various social channels.

The distributed web for brand emphasis
Since the onset of the web as a viable marketing solution, brand marketers have been creating what is commonly known as the microsite. Despite the fact that that we label these online brand shrines as "micro," many treat the microsite as the centerpiece of their strategy (perhaps we should have been calling this interactive marketing vehicle a macrosite). While I believe that online brand initiatives ultimately benefit from having all roads lead to one place, we simply cannot always expect consumers to leave their current environments in order to become immersed in centralized brand experiences. After all, consensual brand presence in a consumer's social environment is a much more powerful statement than a consumer's presence in a closed branded environment.

You may be asking yourself, if we are no longer to place emphasis on the microsite as a central component to marketing initiatives, where should this emphasis go?

The answer to this question is rooted in the concept that many are referring to as the distributed web. I define distributed web strategy (as it pertains to marketing) in the following way: consistent brand presence across various social channels. Distributed web strategy is based on the notion that the sum of all syndicated content and messaging is greater than any single brand presence.

Last November, Forrester Research Senior Analyst Jeremiah Owyang penned an analysis of Open Social and how its impact should be explained to executives. In this incredibly prescient post Owyang writes, "Web marketing no longer is limited to your corporate site. Let go of the concept of 'driving traffic to your website' as a sole measurement of success. The web, its message and your battles are now fought on the open and distributed web."

Nearly seven months later brands are still ignoring the impact of the distributed web. I understand why marketers would be reluctant to put their brands into a sea of uncertainty; however, we have reached a point where brands can no longer solely compete on their home turf. It is time to let go!

Adam Broitman

Nod to Imedia Connection